World, Russia-Ukraine War

US Patriot air defense systems already in service in Ukraine, says Kyiv

Only F-16 fighter jets capable of entirely closing Ukrainian sky to Russia, says Ukraine's air force spokesman

Elena Teslova  | 22.04.2023 - Update : 23.04.2023
US Patriot air defense systems already in service in Ukraine, says Kyiv


Ukraine has already received Patriot air defense systems and placed them on combat duty, the country's air force spokesman said Saturday.

Speaking in the capital Kyiv, Yuriy Ihnat told a televised interview that while the Patriot systems would help keep Russian military aircraft further from Ukraine's borders, Kyiv would need F-16 fighter jets to "close the sky" entirely.

"Our AFU (Armed Forces of Ukraine) will be able to keep Russian planes at a slightly greater distance from our borders. But, this problem will not be completely solved (this way). It can be completely solved with the F-16," stressed Ihnat.

He noted that fighter jets were the only solution as they could be scrambled to "those places where it is necessary."

US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said in March that Washington was not training Ukrainian forces to pilot F-16 fighter jets, with research instead being conducted into launching American missiles from the Russian-made MiG fighter jets that Kyiv currently possesses.

Kirby later said that the US did not plan to deliver F-16 jets to Ukraine.

Kyiv announced in March that Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Poland would transfer 70 MiG-29 and Su-25 fighter jets to Ukraine.

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